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South African Airways Vacations

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posts: 3
South African Airways Vacations

Has anyone used the South African Airways Vacations packages, and if so, did they enjoy it? I am thinking of doing the Bachelor SA Getaway--Ultimate Package. If anyone has any experience with SAAV or this exact package please enlighten me.


40 replies to this topic
posts: 14
reviews: 10
31. Re: South African Airways Vacations

Hi Heeten,

The bad experience with SAA vacations did not take away from the beauty or the unbelievable adventure through South Africa and Mozambique. I'm already beginning the planning process for my return trip. This time however, I'm going to plan and book the whole trip on my own. This was my third time visiting the country and it just seems to get better and better. Your absolutely right, the driving and telecommunications are fantastic.

Thanks and I appreciate your reply,



posts: 26
reviews: 45
32. Re: South African Airways Vacations

Airline Options to South Africa

A number of domestic and international airlines serve South Africa, primarily via a hub in Europe. We picked South African Airways because they offer a direct flight from New York to Johannesburg SA, with the shortest total flight time.

We ran into unexpected problems with SAA on our return. SAA has unusual limitations on the size and weight for all carry-on luggage – which were not enforced when we left New York, but were strictly enforced when we returned from Joburg. Here are the details:

Business Two pieces: 8kg (18lb) each 56cm (L) 36cm (W) 23cm (H)

22” (L) 14.2” (W) 9” (H)

Economy One piece: 8kg (18lb) 56cm (L) 36cm (W) 23cm (H)

22” (L) 14.2” (W) 9” (H)

Note: These dimensions and weight limits are both less than the typical limits

enforced by major US and European airlines. For example, a standard Tumi

‘Alpha’ roll-aboard measures 22" x 16.25" x 10" (without the ‘expansion’

zipper) which exceeds the limits with SAA. Add the usual load of vacation

clothes, camera, toiletry bag, etc and you will also exceed SAA’s 8kg (18lb)

weight limit. (See: flysaa.com/za/…handBaggage.html )

For example, my wife’s Tumi roll-aboard was accepted by SAA for the flight from New York, but was rejected and shifted to checked luggage when we flew back from Joburg on the same aircraft. No amount of ‘reasoning’ with SAA staff made any difference, e.g., “We flew SAA from New York with this bag, with no problems. Why is the same bag a problem for our return, on the same aircraft?”

This is important if you (a) want to ‘travel light’ and avoid checked baggage and delays through Customs, or (b) you have valuable items that you plan to pack in your standard roll-aboard.

I hope this is helpful.

Mark Hays

Rockville Maryland
posts: 1
reviews: 6
33. Re: South African Airways Vacations

I would suppose that my post is OBE, but non the less, my wife & I took the Affordable South Africa in November of 2011. Our only complaint, the trip was too short.

South African Airlines, both international and domestic (within SA) put US carriers to shame. Great service, a hot meal, spotless aircraft.

South Africa itself was, well let me put it this way, were in the process of booking another trip with the same outfit.

These are not group tours. We were picked up in small cars or vans. When we did tour with a group, it was a different group each time. Most of the time it was just the two of us.

Edited: 3:55 pm, December 25, 2013
Chicago, Illinois
posts: 1
34. Re: South African Airways Vacations

I am traveling to South Africa through SAAV in early April. They have us staying at the Protea Hotel President in Capetown where we will be doing a winelands tour as well as shark cage diving through a company/excursion boat called "the slashfin". We are then heading to the Black Rhino Game Lodge near the Pilanesberg National Park. If you have any feedback on any of these particular places (positive or negative) please let me know!


Miami, Florida
posts: 11
reviews: 30
35. Re: South African Airways Vacations

Hit here, we have blooded a similar tour with just my husband and I through them. Our final deposit comes due at the end of the month and are excited for our May 31 departure. The reviews for economy seating are very polarizing. Especially about the hard seats. Was curious if you found the seats to be horrible? I am thinking of bringing seat padding for the long haul. Also, how was the plane from JoBerg to Hoedspurt? We are staying ate the Serondella which is part of the thorneybush collection. Thanks for your time in advance. ;)

36. Re: South African Airways Vacations

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posts: 26
reviews: 45
37. Re: South African Airways Vacations

Dear Angie:

We flew SAA in economy from NY direct to Joburg -- and back with the stopover in Dakkar. The seats, leg space and overhead luggage bins were typical for a 747 on major carriers in the US and from the US to Europe. Nothing unusual.

The complaints about "hard" seats are probably due to the unusual length of the flight, particularly the outbound direct to Joburg. After 12 hours, any coach seat can get pretty uncomfortable! Sitting for that length of time is also a health risk; you need to get up and walk around now and then. (There are even warnings on the video monitors, encouraging passengers to walk.)

Enjoy your adventure in South Africa!


Miami, Florida
posts: 11
reviews: 30
38. Re: South African Airways Vacations

Thanks Mark, I appreciate the input ;)

Miami, Florida
posts: 11
reviews: 30
39. Re: South African Airways Vacations

How did you like Serondella lodge? We are staying for 4 nights in June and would love to know how it went ;)



Los Angeles...
posts: 1
reviews: 32
40. Re: South African Airways Vacations

Was in six southern African countries, South African Airways Vacations had overall trip responsibility, last week in Nov. and all of Dec. 2013. All flights mostly SAA, Air Namibia, and Charter were very good and on time; only one slight problem when a flight was cancelled and replaced by another with a different flight number. Was travelling solo and this was a custom trip for my needs, fairly expensive, and my goal was to see the maximum in five weeks; returned to Los Angeles 31 Dec. SAA Vactions used Tour d' Afrique for tours and lodging in Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana; everything great with one exception, was not in city center in Swakopmund, a very nice town, which was a real problem. Tip, check locations of lodging when you receive the first iteineray from your travel agent. (They should do this, but if they do not the traveler has the problems.) A phone call to the Tour d' Afrique rep in Windhoek resulted in finger pointing re. who was wrong, made the mistake. Rhino Safaris, based in Milan Italy, handled arrangements for Kenya. Was not met at the airport in Nairobi and no hotel reservation had been made in Nairobi--was a trying situation, until straightened out. Had to get my own cab to the hotel. Kudo Safaris Ltd., a sister company to Rhino Safaris made arrangements in Tanzania. Itineray changed late in the planning with a less than a satisfactory explanation. Tip, Do not Use Rhino Safaris and Kudu Safaris Ltd.; service was so so and their management's attitude left a lot to be desired. Would use SAA Vacations and Tour d' Afrique again, would double check to make sure the same personnel were not involved for the new trip.

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